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Cologne

Cologne was raised to a 'colony' (hence the name), with city status by the Romans in 50 AD, and was later absorbed into the Gallic Empire, becoming the capital from 260-271. The city was highly prized by both of these communities, due mainly to its location on the River Rhine, which placed it at the intersection of the major trade routes east and west, and was the basis of Cologne's growth. In addition to this, several saints were martyred in the city and the relics of the Three Magi were acquired from Milan. Cologne then also became a centre of ecclesiastical importance, as well as a pilgrimage centre, meaning the city continued to prosper in the middle ages as a result. Following a slight decline in the city's fortunes, Cologne experienced something of a renaissance in the 18th century with a recipe involving distilling flower blossoms in alcohol. This 'toilet water' achieved worldwide fame as eau de Cologne.

Although Cologne was badly damaged in the Second World War, the Cathedral survived, and extensive restoration work has since taken place throughout the city. In the modern age Cologne has reclaimed its old role as a major trade and business centre - now a radio and television metropolis, and a beer city, with over twenty breweries producing Kölsch, the distinctive local beer. Whilst in Cologne you really ought to visit the vast Cathedral. The foundation stone was laid in 1248, and it was finally completed in 1880. Called "the mother of all German churches", it is one of the largest Gothic structures ever built, and its size reflects its power - it is the seat of the Primate of Germany. The Cathedral was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996, and today you can see the relics of the Three Magi, and climb the south tower for a spectacular view of the city and the Rhine.

Sightseeing in Cologne
Cologne's Old Town, which has been carefully restored to preserve its pre-war appearance, is also a joy to discover. It spreads from just south of the Cathedral to the bank of the Rhine. Here you can admire the tall and narrow pastel-coloured houses, set out along the Old Town's winding streets, as you wander to the Rhine Promenade for a stroll along the river. There are many traditional brewery taverns close to the Old Town, all of which serve Kölsch beer - brewed only in Cologne. You may wish to visit at least one of these to sample the beer for yourself.

If you have the time to explore further, Cologne boasts an assemblage of both Roman and medieval remains that is unsurpassed in Germany. For example Eigelsteintor, one of the three surviving magnificent city gates, is a short distance north. The other gates, Severinstor and Hahnentor, are further afield but also worth a visit.

15 results matching: Escorted Rail Tours to Cologne

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Glacier Express & St Moritz
Small Group
New Year Savings
4.4 stars(50 reviews)
2023MayJunJulAugSep
10 days from
£2,995 pp £2,895 pp
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New Year Savings
10 days from
£2,995
£2,895
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
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Zell am See
Small Group
New Year Savings
4.3 stars(63 reviews)
2023MayJunJulAugSepOct
9 days from
£1,595 pp
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9 days from
£1,595
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  • DestinationAustria
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
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Premium Rhine Cruise
New Year Savings
4.2 stars(54 reviews)
2023MayJunJulAugSep
2024MayJunJulSepOct
8 days from
£1,995 pp
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New Year Savings
8 days from
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  • DestinationFrance, Germany, The Netherlands
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationCruise
  • TransportRail, Cruise
Map and accommodation
New Year Savings
8 days from
£1,995
per person
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  • DestinationFrance, Germany, The Netherlands
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationCruise
  • TransportRail, Cruise
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New Year Savings
9 days from
£2,595
per person
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  • DestinationAustria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationCruise
  • TransportRail, Cruise
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Romantic Road and Bavarian Alps
Small Group
New Year Savings
3.9 stars(16 reviews)
2023MayJunAugSep
9 days from
£2,495 pp £2,295 pp
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9 days from
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£2,295
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  • DestinationGermany
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
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New Year Savings
10 days from
£2,595
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  • DestinationAustria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationCruise
  • TransportRail, Cruise
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Grand Alpine Explorer
Small Group
New Year Savings
4.6 stars(9 reviews)
2023MayJunJulAugSep
14 days from
£3,995 pp £3,695 pp
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14 days from
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£3,695
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  • DestinationAustria, Germany, Switzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International / London Heathrow
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The Harz Mountains
4.5 stars(23 reviews)
2023Feb
7 days from
£1,395 pp
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7 days from
£1,395
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  • DestinationGermany
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
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9 days from
£9,999
per person
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
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9 days from
£9,999
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
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tour map
  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
Map and accommodation
Our customers love our Cologne tours
The Glacier Express and St Moritz
14 Oct 2022
Dr Robinson
5 stars
“Fantastic service and a wonderful destination
Collected by Trustpilot
The Majestic Rhine (Basel-Amsterdam) Rail and Cruise
13 Oct 2022
Mr Howells
5 stars
“An excellent rail/cruise. The Tour Guides were extremely helpful and supported the tour without a hitch, The Amadeus boat could not be faulted, and the on-board crew and staff were first rate. The tour was well thought out and it was well worth the trip.
Collected by Trustpilot
Romantic Road and Bavarian Alps
22 Sep 2022
S Graham
5 stars
“A really enjoyable tour with a very friendly group and an excellent tour manager
Collected by Trustpilot
Grand Alpine Explorer
08 Sep 2022
Ian Rowe
5 stars
“Leaving by Eurostar remains a pleasure compared to a busy airport. First class rail travel between centres worked well. Good to excellent hotels en route. Affable small group and our friendly tour guide kept everything moving to schedule. Stunning locations.
Collected by Trustpilot
Interlaken and the Jungfrau Express in Winter
29 Mar 2022
John Jago
5 stars
“We done the same tour in the summer however the Winter version is like a different holiday.Amazing scenery.
Collected by Trustpilot
Colditz, Meissen and Saxony by Steam
23 Sep 2020
Mr Michael Arnold
5 stars
“Excursions and hotels all very nice, plenty of free time and it was also very warm(!)
Collected by Great Rail Journeys
Austrian Alps All-Inclusive
27 Oct 2022
S Thompson
4 stars
“A very scenic tour managed by John, who was wonderful and melded the 23 of us to a really friendly group. More free time would have been good to go see whatever interested individuals. The 2 long distance trains and a bus on the 2 days either end of the tour were long, very trying and tiring. Accomodation and food were very good.
Collected by Trustpilot
Delights of the Danube (Budapest-Passau) Rail and Cruise
15 Oct 2022
Stuart Stanton
4 stars
“River vessel was good Food good Locations were good. Days ashore seem to be either too long or to short, no sort of happy medium Train travelling was made arduous due to bad time keeping on German Railways
Collected by Trustpilot
The Harz Mountains in Winter
29 Mar 2022
Richard from Berkshire
4 stars
“If you like Steam Trains and Snow this is an amazing trip. Many Steam Train trips. But Clip on studs that go over your shoes ie 'Crampons' should have been recommended for the top of 'The Brocken' as it can be treacherously icy. We saw many falls. The surrounding towns has some wonderful buildings and appears almost desolate. Very little is in English so you may need to rely on a guide, especially in restaurants. The escort was wonderfully organised and most necessary, especially with organisation and signage as despite what we think the train services in Europe are not too different to ours regarding efficiency and sometimes very much worse. Also having a central point/hotel in Wernigerode from which to explore the area meant we only had to unpack once to enjoy all the different trips. Being old we were surprised to find we could manage much of what was available to see and the guide took care to ensure we were catered for. You can very much imagine it was still part of Eastern Germany when it was controlled by Russia. Strongly recommended. Without a professional guide we would have missed a lot.
Collected by Trustpilot
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